A team of European scientists have found the molecule behind the development of diabetes in obese people.
Many overweight or obese people develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes at some stage in their lives.
Now, a new study has shown that obese people have large amounts of the molecule CXCL5, produced by certain cells in fatty tissue.
The biomedical community has known for many years that substances produced by fatty tissue are responsible for the link between obesity and diabetes.
"Chronic inflammation of the adipose tissue, which is characteristic of obese people, is a crucial stage in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes", Lluis Fajas, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) in France, said.
The results of this new study show that serum levels of a chemokine molecule called CXCL5, produced by certain adipose tissue cells, appear at much high levels in the tissues of obese people than in those of individuals with normal weight.
This has helped Lluis Fajas's research team to come to a biomedically relevant conclusion: "The CXCL5 molecule helps cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes".
The most important part of this study is the discovery that an experimental treatment aimed at inhibiting the action of CXCL5 can help to protect obese mice from developing type 2 diabetes.
"If these studies can be confirmed in humans, this treatment would represent a fundamental improvement in the quality of life of obese individuals", the researcher said.
The study has been published in the journal Cell Metabolism.